Monday, December 11, 2017

13 Hanukah Facts Every Jew Should Know and Truman's recognition of Israel (people critizied him as well)

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

You can Learn to be Happy

Happiness is a skill that can be learned. The essential factor whether or not you will live a happy life is based less on external factors such as wealth, success and fame, and more on your attitude toward life, toward yourself, toward other people, and toward events and situations. Regardless of your attitudes in the past, you have the ability to change and become a master of happiness.

Today is the best day to improve your skills. Either things will go EXACTLY the way you want -- and then you can focus on the feeling of joy. Or things will NOT go the way you want and you'll have the opportunity to attain greater mastery over your attitude.

Throughout the day, keep asking yourself: "What attitude will enable me to experience joy and empowerment RIGHT NOW?

Love Yehuda Lave

Recognition Of Israel By Harry Truman

REGATHERED ISRAEL AT THEIR 69TH ANNIVERSARY: 69 years ago today, President Harry Truman shocked the world when he recognized the legitimacy of the regathered state of Israel. In 2017, President Trump is set to do much of the same thing by moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thus recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.Will he keep his campaign promise to move the Embassy? Trump visits Israel next week to make an announcement...stay tuned!

Truman says he will not run again for Presidency (1952)

American newsreel item with commentary. L/S of President Harry Truman and his wife Bess Truman alighting from car at night. M/S of Trumans being welcomed back to White House after a holiday. M/S of group of photographers. M/S of Truman holding up the new key to the rebuilt White House. M/S of officials entering White House. General view of the Jefferson Jackson dinner two nights later. L/S of Truman arriving and walking through lane of diners. General view of the dinner scene. C/U of Mrs Truman and National Chairman Mr McKinney seated at table. L/S of Truman addressing the gathering. M/S of Truman speaking. He says he will not be a candidate for re-election, saying "I have served my country long and I think efficiently, and honestly I shall not accept a renomination. I do not feel that it is my duty to spend another four years in the White House. [Shouts of protest from the audience.] We must always remember the things the Democratic party has done and the high ideals that have made it great. We must be true to its principles and keep it foremost in service of the people. If we do that we can be sure that there will be a Democratic President in the White House for the next four years". M/S of Mrs Truman leaving table and waving goodbye with President Truman. C/U copy of the Resignation speech in Truman's own handwriting.

Truman and the State of Israel

 Israeli-Palestinian Conflict class project on Truman's decision to support the creation of the state of Israel. It was my first attempt to do a documentary type video so the vocal audio isn't the best. Enjoy!

Chanukah guide for the perplexed, 2017

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought: US-Israel Initiative"
Based on ancient Jewish sages,

More on Chanukah and Jewish other holidays:
1. Chanukah's historical context according to the Books of the Maccabees, The Scroll of Antiochus and The War of the Jews by Joseph Ben Mattityahu (Josephus Plavius):

In 175 BCE, the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus (IV) Epiphanies of Syria (1/3 of the disintegrated Greek Empire) wished to exterminate Judaism and forcibly convert Jews to Hellenism.  He suspected that the Jews were allies of his chief rival, Egypt. In 169 BCE, upon returning to Syria from a war against Egypt, he devastated Jerusalem, massacred Jews, forbade the practice of Judaism and desecrated the Temple.

The 167 BCE Jewish rebellion featured the Hasmonean (Maccabee) family: Mattityahu, a priest from Modi'in, and his five sons, Yochanan, Judah, Shimon, Yonatan and Elazar. The heroic, creative battle tactics of the Maccabees, were consistent with the reputation of Jews as superb warriors, who were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Rome and other global and regional powers. The battles of the Maccabees inspired the future Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire: from the battle against Pompey in 63 BCE through the suppression of the Bar Kokhba Rebellion in 135 CE.

2. The name Maccabee (מכבי or מקבי) is a derivative of the Hebrew word Makevet (מקבת), power hammer in Hebrew. It is also a derivative of the Hebrew verb Cabeh (כבה), to extinguish. Maccabee, מכבי, is also the Hebrew acronym of "Who could resemble you among gods, O Jehovah" מי כמוך באלים יי)). In Latin, the C is sometimes pronounced like a TZ, and Maccabee could be the Latin spelling of the Hebrew word Matzbee, a commander-in-chief.

3. Chanukah ( חנוכהin Hebrew) celebrates the initiation/inauguration (חנוכ) of the reconstructed Temple. Chanukah (חנוכה) is education-oriented (חנוכ). A key feature of Chanukah is the education/mentoring of the family and community, recognizing education as the foundation of human behavior.

According to the First Book of Maccabees, Judah the Maccabee instituted an 8-day holiday on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev 165 BCE (just like King Solomon's 8-day celebration of the inauguration of the First Temple), in order to commemorate Jewish history, in general, and the inauguration and deliverance of the holy altar and the Temple, in particular. The Hebrew word, Chanukah, חנוכה, consists of two words, Hanu-Kah  ( חנו-כהin Hebrew) which means "they camped/rested" (חנו) on the 25th day (כה equals 25 in Hebrew) of the Jewish month of Kislev.

4. The Chanukah Menorah (a 9-branched-candelabra) commemorates the legacy of the Maccabees, highlighting the prerequisites of spiritual and physical liberty, in defiance of formidable odds: value-driven faith, tenacious optimism, patriotism, attachment to roots, adherence to long-term values and interests over political-correctness and short-term convenience.

The Biblical commandment to light candles employs the verb "to elevate the candles" (Numbers, 8:1-3), since candles represent the soul, aiming to elevate human morality, while the candelabra represents the unity of the family and the people.

The Chanukah candles are lit, for 8 days (8 representing eternity and the Jewish covenant with God), during the darkest time of the year, when the moon is hardly noticed, and human mood tends to grow grimmer. The Chanukah festival of lights symbolizes the victory of optimism over depression.

5. The US connection:

* According to the Diary of Michael and Louisa Hart, George Washington was introduced to Chanukah in December 1777 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, when he challenged the much superior British military. A Jewish solider lit a Chanukah candle, explaining its significance: a conviction-driven, tactical victory against immense odds. Washington replied: "I rejoice in the Maccabees' success, though it is long past...It pleases me to think that miracles still happen." On June 19, 1778, Washington implemented the battle tactics of Judah the Maccabee, defeating the British troops. 

*John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, Thomas Paine and the organizers of the Boston Tea Party were referred to as "the modern day Maccabees."  Just like the rebels against the British Crown, so where the Maccabees, initially, a minority, opposed by Jewish loyalists.

*A bust of Judah the Maccabee is displayed at West Point Military Academy, along with those of Joshua, David, Alexander the Great, Hector, Julius Caesar, King Arthur, Charlemagne and Godfrey of Bouillon - "the Nine Worthies."

*"In God We Trust" is a derivative of the Maccabees' battle cry, an adaptation of Moses' battle cry against the builders of the Golden Calf: "Whoever trusts God; join me!"

*The US Postal Service has issued Hanukah stamps, annually, since 1996.

* An annual Chanukah candle-lighting educational event takes place at the Montana State Capitol in Helena, commemorating a December 2, 1993 assault by Billings, Montana's white supremacists, who tossed a brick through a window of a Jewish home that displayed the Chanukah Menorah. On the following morning, the Billings Gazette  printed a full-page Chanukah Menorah, which was pasted on the windows of over 10,000 non-Jewish residents in a show of solidarity. Some Christian residents displayed Chanukah Menorahs on Billings' main street.

6. The Land of Israel connection:

Chanukah is the longest Jewish holiday - the only Jewish holiday that commemorates a Land of Israel national liberation struggle, unlike Passover (Egypt), Sukkot/Tabernacles and Shavuot/Pentecost (the Sinai Desert) and Purim (Persia).  

The mountain ridges of Judea and Southern Samaria (the Land of Benjamin) were the platform of the critical Maccabees' battles: Mitzpah (the burial site of the Prophet Samuel), Beth El (Judah's first headquarters), Beth Horon (Judah's victory over Seron), Hadashah (Judah's victory over Nicanor), Beth Zur (Judah's victory over Lysias), Ma'aleh Levona (Judah's victory over Apolonius), Adora'yim (a Maccabean fortress), Elazar (named after Mattityahu's youngest son) and Beit Zachariya (Judah's first defeat), Ba'al Hatzor (where Judah was defeated and killed), Te'qoah, Mikhmash and Gophnah (bases of Shimon and Yonatan) and the Judean Desert, etc.

When ordered by Antiochus (Book of Maccabees A: 15:33) to end the "occupation" of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron, Shimon the Maccabee responded: "We have not occupied a foreign land; we have not ruled a foreign land; we have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation." Shimon's statement is still relevant in 2017.

Believe in God in 5 Minutes (Scientific Proof)

Gerald Schroeder is a scientist with over thirty years of experience in research and teaching. He earned his Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate degrees all at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with his doctorate thesis being under the supervision of physics professor Robley D. Evans. This was followed by five years on the staff of the MIT physics department prior to moving to Israel, where he joined the Weizmann Institute of Science and then the Volcani Research Institute, while also having a laboratory at The Hebrew University. His Doctorate is in two fields: Earth sciences and physics.

13 Hanukkah Facts Every Jew Should Know

1)Why is Chanukah (Hanukkah) eight nights long? The Talmud asks and answers:

The sages taught: On the 25th of Kislev, the days of Chanukah are eight. One may not eulogize on them, and one may not fast on them. This is because when the Greeks entered the Sanctuary, they defiled all the oils that were in the Sanctuary. And when the Chashmonean monarchy overcame them and emerged victorious over them, they searched and found only one cruse of oil that remained with the seal of the High Priest. And there was sufficient oil there to light the candelabrum for only one day. A miracle occurred, and they lit the candelabrum from it for eight days. The next year, the sages instituted those days and made them holidays with the recitation of Hallel and prayers of thanksgiving.1

But there's more. Seven represents all that is found within this world. There are seven days of the week, seven classical planets and seven musical notes. In fact, the world itself was created in seven days.

Then there is the number eight, which represents that which is above, that which does not fit into the neat slots that hold the bits and pieces of our lives. The number eight evokes the transcendent and the G‑dly. Eight is the number of miracles.


The Chanukah candles must burn after night falls, since their purpose is to bring light into darkness. But they need to be lit early enough that someone will be around to see them. The lights need to be seen so they can serve their function of reminding others of the great miracle G‑d wrought.

.3. The Silent Holiday

Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday not mentioned in the 24 books of the Bible. That's because the canon was sealed by the Men of the Great Assembly, who flourished two centuries before the Chanukah miracle. Nor does it have a tractate in the Talmud that discusses its observances. Instead, it gets a by-the-way mention in Tractate Shabbat. In the context of discussing Shabbat candles, the Chanukah candles (and by extension, the Chanukah holiday) get their time in the Talmudic sun.


4. Before There Were Potatoes There Was ... Cheese!

Today, there is a widespread custom to enjoy potato latkes on Chanukah,since the oil they are fried in reminds us of the miracle of the flames on the Temple menorah burning for eight days. But there is an older custom to eat cheese pancakes on Chanukah, which is reminiscent of the dairy (and intoxicating) meal that the brave Judith fed the Greek general before she decapitated him in his sleep, saving her village. Apparently cheese latkes morphed into potato latkes (potatoes were unknown in the Old World until the late 16th century), and a new custom was born.


5. You Light a Hillel Menorah A Chanukah menorah on the eighth night, using oil.

In the days of the Talmud, there were two major academies of learning: Hillel and Shammai. The House of Hillel taught that every night of Chanukah we add another candle—as we do today. The House of Shammai, however, maintained that we begin with eight lights on the first night and light one less flame every night, ending Chanukah with a single flame.2 Tempted to try the Shammai template? The time to do that is yet to come. Tradition tells us that when Moshiach comes, we will follow the rulings of the House of Shammai. But until then, there is a beautiful lesson to be learned from the Hillel model. Add more light every night. Every little bit of lights add up to create something brilliant.

Read more about this historic dispute here.

6. Syrians, Greeks, Hellenists or Yevanim?

We sometimes hear of Greeks, Syrians or even Hellenists in the Chanukah story. So who exactly were the interlopers who were expelled by the Maccabees? All of the above! After the death of Alexander the Great, his empire was broken up: the Seleucid Greek Empire was based in Syria, and the Ptolemaic Empire had its base in Alexandria, Egypt. The soldiers stationed in Judea belonged to the Syrian Greeks. And who are the Hellenists and the Yevanim? The very same people: Hella is the Greek word for Greece, and Yavan is how we say it in Hebrew.

(Now, just to make things a bit more confusing, there were also the Hellenized Jews, or "Mityavnim" in Hebrew, who sided with the Greeks/Yevanim/Hellenists/Syrians/Seleucids and posed an even greater threat to the survival of traditional Jewish life.)

Read an insight from the Rebbe into Yavan, the Hebrew name for Greece.

7. Menorahs Everywhere

On the first Chanukah, candles were lit all over the courtyard of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This brought the Chanukah light from the inner sanctum of the Temple, the holiest spot on earth, out into the open. As Jews continue to observe Chanukah all over the globe, the ripples of holiness continue to widen and expand.

8. Lots of Choices

Most Jewish holidays begin on only four out of seven days of the week. For example, the first day of Rosh Hashanah can be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Shabbat—never Sunday, Wednesday or Friday. However since the month preceding Chanukah (Cheshvan) can have 29 or 30 days, Chanukah can actually begin on any day of the week besides Tuesday.

9. Were the Maccabees Really So Great?

Any kid who attends Chabad preschool can tell you that the heroes of the Chanukah story are the Maccabees, the clan who led the brave insurgency against the Greeks invaders. But it was not all good. Judah Maccabee and his family were Kohanim, members of the priestly tribe chosen by G‑d to minister in the Holy Temple. Judah Maccabee's successors took the kingship for themselves, something that rightfully belonged to the descendants of King David from the Tribe of Judah. Indeed, it did not take long until the monarchy of Judea was dragged down into a series of unending power grabs and bloody intrigue, with king after king trying to imitate the very same Greeks their ancestors had ousted from the land.

10. Chanukah in the USSR Avraham Genin, a leading figure in the network of underground Jewish institutions run by Chabad in the USSR (photo: Nathan Brusovani (Bar),

For most of his life, Avraham Genin lit the menorah in the privacy of his own home, or in the synagogue. A former soldier in the Red Army, he lost his foot to a German bomb. But that didn't prevent him from walking to synagogue every week—an effort that took him an hour and a half. A stalwart chassid who refused to bow to Stalin and his minions, he served bravely as a mohel and a teacher of Torah, a beacon of light in a G‑dless communist era.

But then the unthinkable happened. By Chanukah of 1991, cracks had formed in the Iron Curtain and, in the presence of approximately 6,000 Jewish people, Avraham Genin kindled a giant menorah inside the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. (It was the second year that a large public menorah had been lit in the USSR; the previous year, a menorah had been placed near Russia's White House.)

Public Chanukah menorah lightings have been a staple of Jewish Russian life ever since.

11. Chanukah in Space

In December of 1993, Space Shuttle Endeavour was sent into space to service the Hubble Space Telescope. One of the astronauts to bravely perform a spacewalk to repair the telescope was Jeffrey Hoffman.

Knowing that he would be stuck in space over Chanukah, Hoffman made sure to bring along a dreidel and a traveling menorah so that he'd be able to celebrate (because of lack of gravity and safety concerns, there was no way to light candles).

Then, via live satellite communication, he showed his Chanukah supplies, gave his dreidel a twirl in the air, and wished Jews everywhere a happy Chanukah

12. Is Your Menorah in the Doorway or at a Window?

The most common custom (outside of Israel) is to light the menorah at a window. In Mishnaic times, however, the menorah would be placed outside, on the left side of the door leading in from the street.

This led to a unique law. Normally if a person placed a candle in the street, and a straw-bearing donkey brushed by too close, the owner of the candle would be responsible for the ensuing conflagration. On Chanukah, however, he would be exempt because he was doing a mitzvah.

Why was the menorah placed to the left of the door? Because the mezuzah is placed on the right side. With the mezuzah on one side and the menorah on the other, you are literally surrounded by holiness.

The harsh realities of the diaspora, both sociopolitical and meteorological, forced the menorah to an indoor doorway, and some communities developed the custom to put it on the windowsill instead. Even today, many people (including Chabad) prefer to light in a doorway, surrounding ourselves with the mitzvahs of mezuzah and the menorah, just as in ancient times.

Read more on why Chabad prefers the doorway for the menorah.

13. How Chanukah Went Public in Three Years

The purpose of the menorah is to spread awareness to as many people as possible. This is why the menorah is also lit in the synagogue every night. But in recent years, the mitzvah of menorah has rippled out even further.

Rabbi Moshe Hecht with students at the New Haven Hebrew Day School in Connecticut, 1987.

During Chanukah of 1973, some Chabad-Lubavitch yeshivah students were planning to go to Manhattan to distribute menorahs. They figured that if they could put a giant menorah on top of a car, many more people would notice them and take the menorahs they were distributing. Using wooden scraps and cinder blocks, they manage to make a large menorah and tie it down to the roof of a station wagon. The menorah turned out to be a success.

By 1974, Rabbi Abraham Shemtov had the unusual, perhaps wild, idea of lighting a menorah right in front of Independence Hall, which houses the Liberty Bell, the icon of American freedom.

In 1975, Chabad Rabbi Chaim Drizin in San Francisco made arrangements to light an oversized wooden menorah in the city's Union Square. Bill Graham—a child survivor of the Holocaust and a well-known music promoter—donated funds for the construction of the 22-foot-tall mahogany menorah. To this day, it's called the Bill Graham menorah. (Photo:

In 1975, on the opposite U.S. coast, Rabbi Chaim Drizin in San Francisco had made arrangements to light an oversized wooden menorah in the city's Union Square. Bill Graham—a child survivor of the Holocaust and a well-known music promoter—donated a 22–foot-tall mahogany menorah, and the tradition grew into its current form.

In 2016, Chabad-Lubavitch set up more than 15,000 large public menorahs. Public lightings and Chanukah events were held in more than 90 countries around the world. Additionally, 5,000 menorah-topped vehicles roamed the roads, creating holiday awareness in cities, towns and rural areas around the world.

Read more on the history of public Chanukah celebrations.

Footnotes 1. Shabbat 21b, quoting Megillat Taanit. 2. Shabbat 21b. © Copyright, all rights reserved

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